Why Owning a Dog Can Make You a Better Parent



This article is posted as part of PGAA’s curation efforts. This was originally posted at WayCoolDogs


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Owning a dog can make you a better parent for several reasons. Dogs require a lot of care: puppies and senior dogs require more than at any other age; while babies and young toddlers require more than any of them. As a dog owner, you will experience what it is like to make important health decisions before your family arrives.

Being a good parent is difficult at best. But having a dog as a pet when a couple first gets together teaches several things… to the couple, not the dog! The same things that make you a good dog owner can also make you a good parent. For a fact, many parents find that it is not nearly as nerve-wracking to care for a pet as it is to care for the health of a small child. Of course, that depends on the person! But owning a dog is a healthy step toward good parenting if you are willing to take the first step.

There is a lot of give and take when it comes the responsibilities of making good health decisions, both for your pet and for your child. As a dog owner, in the beginning, you need to provide it with adequate exercise and playtime. Both will promote physical and mental health; daily walks with your dog will provide moderate physical activity and bonding time all at once. The same is when you have children, like playing in the park or camping out. The rules and the results are the same, proving that owning a dog can make you a better parent.

Awhile back, article author Sam Peters, wrote an article on why having a dog makes your child a better person. The article was so well received he decided to follow it up with another one all about parents… this one! Owning a dog before the kids arrive can be an invaluable experience. As crazy as it sounds, fully trained dogs are great to have around when you have small children and are beginning to grow your family.

How owning a dog can make you a better parent

Being a dog owner can make you a better parent in a lot of ways. Here are a few excellent reasons that demonstrate how this is possible.

  • You learn to recognize when your dog is not feeling well by subtle signs.
  • You will recognize the signs and symptoms of specific health problems in dogs after awhile.
  • You will understand that health classes about dogs are vital to their health and to what you do not yet know. Later on, this will be replaced with health knowledge about children.
  • You will learn how to praise for a job well done by your dog, and later on by your child, making them proud.
  • You will learn the step-by-step process of proper teaching, learning from mistakes and others.
  • You will learn how to read food containers for quality ingredients and how they are placed on various food labels. This begins with dog food can, bags of dog food, and treats.
  • You will learn the importance of cool clean water, fresh quality food, and keeping the dog’s food and water bowl clean.
  • You will learn how to measure medicine, recognize medical containers, and learn to read directions.
  • Dog owners quickly learn to make decisions whether to get all of the available vaccinations.
  • Dog owners learn to make decisions on whether to use natural health products. For dogs, the author recommends Canna-Pet, in addition to using prescription medications.

Why owning a dog will teach you patience

Owning a dog can make you a better parent, and it will help you develop patience. This teaches you to be more caring and more loving. Teaching your dog to follow commands, to properly walk on a leash, and to learn the ABC’s of potty training all take time “and” patience. Whether your dog is mellow and well-behaved matters very little; there will still be stressful moments. Down the road when the children begin to arrive, you will be surprised at how much patience is required. Learn it through dog ownership first, and be a pro by the time children arrive!

Becoming a responsible dog owner takes a lot of effort to learn what is acceptable and what is not. Ultimately, hard-earned patience will pay off as your dog figures out what you want from him or her. As a good parent, you will eventually understand that this takes lots of teaching and social interaction, steps you will learn by having a dog before your family arrives.

Dogs teach you about the importance of quality communication

Dogs do not speak as people, but they are able to communicate very well with their human counterparts. After more than 16,000 years together, people and their dogs have learned how to communicate both verbally and non-verbally. According to research, the latter makes up 93 percent of the average communication among people. And recent studies show that dogs are perfectly capable of communicating in a non-verbal manner, still getting their point across rather quickly. It all depends on whether their owners are capable of listening.

Having a dog will teach you that highly influential tones can be when you are talking to another dog, a child or an adult. Dogs may not immediately understand the meaning of spoken human words, but they will always react to the tone of their owner’s tone.

The tone of which you speak conveys a clear message about what you want from your dog or child. When training a dog, using clear hand signals helps even more. Mixed signals from parents or dog owners are confusing, causing serious problems in communication.

Correct skills come in handy when your child is under two years old and cannot verbalize their needs. They will react to tone immediately even as a small infant, understanding your mood and intentions with full meaning before they understand what speech is about.

Owning a dog reduces stress level

More and more often, parents are becoming stressed out on a regular basis. In today’s times, it just comes with the territory. And when parents are stressed, children are stressed. Stress is a natural part of life, but chronic stress can lead to a number of health problems that never makes parenting any easier.

Studies show that dogs are natural stress relievers [Harvard.edu] for both adults and children. They boost self-esteem, psychological well-being, and lower blood pressure. It could be their happy disposition or their ability to love unconditionally. Regardless, spending time with a canine companion is an effective way to deal with the stresses of the day. Owning a dog always makes the day better!

How dogs reduce stress in children and adults:

  • It has been proven that dogs used for therapy reduce stress in children and adults.
  • Having a dog can increase levels of stress-reducing oxytocin while decreasing the production of the stress hormone cortisol.
  • Patients who own a dog reduce high blood pressure during mental stress.
  • Children between four and 10 who own dogs have lower stress levels than kids without dogs.
  • It has been found that dogs can reduce childhood anxiety, along with social and separation anxiety.

“The CDC researchers are calling for more research into our early relationships with our pets to figure out why this link between reduced childhood stress levels and dog ownership could exist. But if you want to foster a calm and happy atmosphere at home (for your kids, at least – you’ll still have to clean up after everyone) bringing a dog into your family could be one way of achieving it.” [Science Alert]

Dogs are a lesson in responsibility

If you don’t have the time and focus to take care of a dog, chances are it might not be the best time to have a baby (or another one) either until things begin to calm down. Compared to the care of a child, dog care is minimal care once they are trained. You need to make sure they have a ready supply of clean water, food a few times a day, several breaks to go outside, and a minimal amount of playtime. Caring for a child requires a lot more oversight than for a dog, especially an adult or older dog. The thing to recognize is that owning a dog can make you a better parent, hands down.

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WayCoolDog posts originally appeared on WayCoolDogs and are re-posted with the permission of Nancy Houser of WayCoolDogs © 2009 – 2017 WayCoolDogs.com..